Yamaha Factory on pole at Suzuka
Following the cancellation of the Top 10 Trial, the starting grid of the Suzuka 8 Hours retains the positions taken in qualifying. This means Yamaha Factory Racing Team remain on pole, followed by Kawasaki Racing Team and Red Bull Honda.
Persistent rain on the Suzuka circuit this morning and concerns for rider safety led Race Direction to cancel the Top 10 Trial, the Superpole session in which the ten fastest teams in qualifying were scheduled to face off on a flying lap.
The positions taken on Friday after the two timed sessions were used instead to determine positions on the starting grid.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team, the winners of the past four editions, will hence start from pole on Sunday at the 2019 Suzuka 8 Hours, in front of Kawasaki Racing Team and Red Bull Honda.
Behind this threesome of Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda factory teams, Musashi RT Harc-Pro Honda and Yoshimura Suzuki Motul Racing round off the Top 5, who will each receive their share of the first points (5 down to 1) awarded at the Suzuka 8 Hours to the teams securing the first five positions on the starting grid.
World title at stake
YART Yamaha and F.C.C. TSR Honda France will start from 6th and 7th place on the grid respectively. F.C.C. TSR Honda France, who are disappointed not to have had the chance to try for a Top 5 spot and a few extra points in the Top 10 Trial, are focusing on their twin objective: finishing as high up the podium as possible and taking a second FIM Endurance World Championship title.
On Sunday, all eyes will also be on VRD Igol Pierret Expériences, who will start from 13th at their Suzuka debut, ahead of championship standings leaders Team SRC Kawasaki France. F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s motivation makes them formidable adversaries, but Team SRC Kawasaki France’s closest rivals are Suzuki Endurance Racing Team, who will start the race from 17th position. There is only a five-point gap between the two teams, both competing for the 2018-2019 FIM EWC title.
The forecast predicts improved weather on race day tomorrow (Sunday), with overcast skies but no rainfall.
The 42nd edition of the Suzuka 8 Hours will be flagged off at 11.30am local time (GMT+9) tomorrow, Sunday 28 July.